Cynthia’s murder: Pharmaceutical group petitions DPP

LAGOS—DISTURBED by the alleged involvement of two of its members accused of selling Rohypnol to the suspected killers of Cynthia Osokogu, the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, PSN, has petitioned the Director of Public Prosecution, DPP, to properly review the case to ensure that pharmacists were not persecuted wrongly.
The accused, Chukwunonso Maduakor and Osita Orji, who are staff of Oxpharm, were allegedly arrested on August 20 and 21 respectively after two police officers posed as patients and asked to buy Rohypnol without prescription. The pharmacists were charged for conspiracy, murder, armed robbery, rape and administering obnoxious substances on Cynthia Osokogu, who was killed in July.

Briefing newsmen in Lagos yesterday, the PSN National President, Mr. Azubike Okwor said the Society had critically appraised all the issues at stake, noting that although the PSN was not trying to interfere with the ongoing police investigation, it was advocating that if the suspects were not found guilty of the crime of rape and armed robbery, they should be handed over to the Pharmacists’ Council of Nigeria, PCN, for proper discipline for selling drugs without prescription.

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Okwor further advised the relevant authorities on how best to tackle the matter and ensure that the innocent was not persecuted albeit unjustly.

He said: “If the liability of the two pharmacists was limited to the sales or alleged sale of Rohypnol to clients they do not know and never collaborated  in the condemnable crime, then it would be logical to believe there might have been breaches of professional ethics”.

He added that the law provides that such matters are dealt with by the pharmacists Council of Nigeria.

“If found guilty only for selling the drug without prescription should be handed over to the Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria, PCN, for discipline. We have reviewed the cases and we cannot understand why they are charged.

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“If they have sold the drugs without prescription, there is a procedure already in place that provides how such matters are dealt with by the PCN.

He further explained that the drug in question was an intermediate acting Benzodiazapam used in the management of anxiety and sleep disorders.

The PSN President who regretted the negative perception of the drug already generated by the incident counselled parents to monitor the use of internet facilities by youths and children.
Bola Oyawole, a former chairman of the PSN in Lagos State, urged the Police investigate properly and separate the issues involved. “If there were professional misconduct, it should be referred to appropriate quarters.

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